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#NPM19 Day 17 Green

 

My friend Dani Burtsfield teaches kindergarten in Montana. She asked me how she could use the paint chips with her little ones.  I suggested a color poem.  The idea is simple.  Each line begins with the color name.  This is a way for young students to learn about metaphor in a concrete way.  I wrote a poem for her to use as a model for her students.  The pattern is Green is ______ followed by an action.

 

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

 

My fifth grade students were testing, and since my classroom is a computer lab, I was left with no place to teach my third grader.  What does a teacher do when it’s a beautiful spring day and there is no space in the school?  Go outside.  Kaia and I went to the garden.  I had with me paint chips and the book Because of Winn Dixie, so we wrote poems and read aloud.  When we took a break and walked around the garden, we discovered a patch of milkweed and counted four monarch caterpillars.

The next day we were offered the French classroom, but we made some time to go out and check the garden.  Our count went up to eleven.

On Thursday when we went outside, there was a garden group who comes once a month to tend to the garden, teach 4H students and hold garden club after school.  Today there was a naturalist who was speaking on monarch butterflies.  She taught us a few things.  One thing, do not trust your count because there are always more than you can see.

She showed Kaia how to touch a caterpillar.  They do not sting or harm you, but you could harm their delicate feet.  Kaia spotted some crawling all the way over on the concrete slab away from the garden.  She rushed over to tell the naturalist about this.  She explained to us that monarch caterpillars travel away from the host plant when they are ready to pupate.  She gently picked these two up and carried them back to the garden area.

I decided to come back after school and gather a few caterpillars to take home.  Meadow (yes, the naturalist’s name is Meadow) gave me instructions on how to care for them.  It’s a good thing she did.  I thought I had only brought home four caterpillars fat and ready for pupation, but as the days went on, there appeared 3 more in the net habitat.

The four made chrysalises on the plastic top of the container, but I’ve had to feed the three that appeared.  I’ve been gathering (stealing) milkweed from our church school’s garden to keep them fed. I hope I haven’t brought home even more caterpillars unknowing.  So far, so good. I’ll post updates on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

The science of nature fascinates me.  I think I’d like to be a naturalist like Meadow when I grow up.

I lost trust in the process of this poetry playtime.  So today I set out to make it work again.  I read Elisabeth Ellington’s post using metaphor dice in a different way.  She set up her rule of play: “I had to use one of each color (concept, adjective, object), and the dice I used had to touch each other. ” I looked at her picture of her box.

I decided to take mirror, silent, and teacher, but use mirror as the object rather than teacher and wrote “The mirror is my silent teacher.”  With the use of a few paint chips, the words flowed again.  I need to be more open to the process of creativity.  It does work on occasion.

The mirror is my silent noisy teacher

babbling on

about this line

and that

showing off

dark spots

and yet

reminding me

that grandma loved

hydrangeas.

She tended her garden

like I tend my face.

Time teaches me

spirit rock lessons–

some hard as stone

some soft as hearth. home

— Margaret Simon, (draft) 2019

I did some editing on this, but now I realize that babbling is not silent.  Perhaps I need to change silent to noisy? And then hearth is really hard, not soft, so maybe home works better.  I wonder how true to the words I am given do I need to be.  Word choice is a challenge set forth by every poem.  What do you think?

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve somewhat abandoned the idea of playing with poetry.  I’ve had my internal excuses, but in reality, I just don’t do well with a prescribed plan.  To me, it doesn’t make me more creative; it gets in the way.  I am still writing at least one poem a day. I’m just not using the tools in the playful kits.

Yesterday, I was reading Poets and Writers The Time is Now and became inspired by a feature called Writers Recommend.  Molly Dektar’s advice this week was unique. This got me thinking about how every expert writer has his or her own advice to writers.  I read writerly advice nearly every day.  And feeling like I was abandoning my own project of “Playing with Poetry,” I wrote this poem.

One writer recommends
a thousand words a day,
another says to sit in words
for 2 hours at dawn.

Try writing while you’re falling asleep.
Let the pen run over the paper
making foreign marks
you will interpret later.

Maybe you should drink
two glasses of wine before writing.
Slur words together in a string
and drink them with a straw.

Molly likes to go to Sephora
and spray on all the different perfumes.
She writes with a tiny perfume bottle
while all her senses are aroused.

It really doesn’t matter.

Words will come.
Words will go.
Writers know this.
Writers count on it.

 

—Margaret Simon, 2019

Playing with poetry has led to a playful poetry attitude in my class.  My first class is reading poems aloud on the intercom for morning announcements from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud by Pomelo Books.  Each day they pass it to the next-up.  He or she chooses a poem they want to read and go through a quick practice to make sure they know how to pronounce all the words (especially the author’s name).  I am pretty much hands off.  They remember whose turn it is, come by the room to get the book, and just do it.  Their read aloud skills are improving as well as their confidence.  They are also learning that poetry can be fun to read aloud.

In the spirit of playing with poetry, I pulled out the individual white boards and proposed a game of collaborative poetry.  They quickly changed the title to “Friends Poems.”  Each friend wrote a line in the poem as we passed the boards around.  The originator of the first line got the poem back and could add to it if they felt it needed more.  This was fun and playful and built a sense of a writing community.

This one was written by Karson, Daniel, Breighlynn, and Jaden

I love the color of the midnight sky
shining stars
dawn and dusk compete
to meet eye to eye
the night is complete

 

I played along with my second group.  We’ve watching monarch caterpillars in the garden.  One day we counted 11 caterpillars.  I’ve brought some home for spring break, but I’ll share more about this later.  Here’s my collaborative poem with Kaia, Landon, and Jayden.

In the spring-sprinkled garden,
Listen as the bird tweets.
Watch the water run and flowers sway.
Look closely at monarch caterpillars.
Praise this amazing day!

 

 

 

 

Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live your Poem.

 

Irene is gathering Poetry Friday posts today.  She is the originator/ organizer of the Progressive Poem.  I’ve participated for four years.  Each year, the poem progresses through different blogs as line by line, we build a poem for children.  This year, Matt Forrest Esenwine started us off with found song lyrics.  The trend continued, and we have this high energy, happy poem about summer.

I am a fan of musicals.  This appreciation runs in my blood.  I passed it on to my middle daughter.  We’ve enjoyed Wicked, Moulin Rouge, and Waitress together and hope to see Dear Evan Hanson this year.  My husband is not such a fan, but earlier this year he appeased me and went to the movie Mary Poppins Returns.  He liked La La Land, so why not?  We were both totally entertained.  I downloaded the soundtrack the next day.

When I’m out walking my dog in the early mornings, some days I just listen to the birds, but a few days ago in anticipation of this required line, I listened to Mary Poppins Returns.  Oh, the joy that music brings to my heart.  A quick search for lyrics online found a just right line for today.

 

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today. 

 

Found Lines:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns

I am the featured poet at Today’s Little Ditty today.